An important aspect of Alasdair’s journey is his connection to his family. This connection is revealed to the reader through moments of recollection, or as played out in real time, in the present, as the narrative moves along. In the case of the former, Alasdair’s recollections are often bittersweet, as he is forced to recognize the loneliness of his situation. In the case of the latter, this consists of ignored phone calls and, consequently, voice mail messages Alasdair only listens to when they’re well past their maturity date.
For the first part of the story, the reader is not sure whether this is a good or bad thing, whether his inability to pick up the ringing telephone is a legitimate, rational response to some familial travesty, or whether it is indicative of some kind of immaturity, irresponsibility, and/or cowardice. Later, this becomes more clear, but it’s important to note that what rests at the crux of Alasdair’s journey is at least partly familial.
We all are shaped in some way by our families. Regardless of whether or not these families are swell or lousy, we are defined by the reactions we have to the mental, emotional, and physical embodiment of them as a whole, as well as individually. Alasdair is no exception. His reaction, as exemplified within the first few pages of the story, is to get away- to remove himself from their presence. But as we see, no amount of territorial removal and wandering is going to shake him of that familial connection.
Within the first part of the story, Alasdair is separate from his family, and he has chosen this. As the story progresses, because of his invariable connection, he begins to confront it, answering such questions as: why did he leave? Who is calling him on the phone? Why is he ignoring the phone? Where are his brothers? Is there a resolution?
Ultimately, I would say this story is very much concerning family. And I would just like to say that, those of you I still consider part of my family, I love you very much.